Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Spring Break on a Cruise during the Corona Virus

Hello all! I am writing this blog post from my quarantined cruise ship in Tampa, FL...

KIDDING!
I’m writing this blog post from the deck of my beach house in Marco Island, FL. I will explain why I’m not back in school in a bit. 

Let’s start off with day one of our Norwegian Cruise.
J.Crew periwinkle tank top | American Eagle white jeggings | Tory Burch double pearl earrings | ASOS straw hat | Jack Rogers sandals (use my code: CBALIZ for 15% off your order at jackrogersusa.com) | ASOS straw beach bag 

Sunday, March 8th.
We anxiously boarded the Norwegian Dawn at noon, an hour late after the US Coast Guard did a thorough inspection of the Dawn.

I didn’t sleep the night before in our Airbnb because I was anxious. Corona Virus had just started to spread in the US. Two cruise ships had been quarantined. I had friends begging me not to go. My parents were encouraging me to go. 
So, my 9 friends and I decided to stick with our original plan and go on our 7-day Western Caribbean cruise.

Security guards at the port took our temperatures before boarding. We were told about the “washy-washy” stations that we were required to use to sanitize our hands before boarding.
5 squirts of antibacterial spray later and we were finally allowed on the ship.
Using the “washy washy” stations became a routine thing. Before we entered any dining room, we were required to sanitize. It kind of became a joke, but a reassuring joke because anxieties were high.

We sat at the pool deck, had lunch and a couple of drinks from our unlimited drink package until our stateroom was ready.

Around 5 pm our room with two obstructed portholes was ready. We showered and changed and had dinner with the group at 7:30 pm at the Venetian, one of the included dining rooms.

That’s when the rocking started. We could feel the winds and the rocking of the ship.

We danced at the club, the Bliss Lounge, for a bit before attempting to sleep.
Let me preface this by saying that I do not really like boats. I also don’t really like airplanes because I get motion sick. When I was little, my twin brother and I would throw up every single flight, usually at the same time, and we flew a lot. It was always a victory if we were able to keep our breakfast or lunch down after the two-and-a-half-hour flight from New York to Fort Meyers and back. Thankfully, we have out grown our motion sickness, but occasionally rough flights or rough waters give us some trouble.

We went to bed at around midnight and I woke up at 3 am and I thought I was going to die. The world was spinning, and I wasn’t even drunk, even though it felt like it. Thankfully, the Girl Scout in me was BEYOND prepared.
I had my Dramamine sitting on my night stand ready to be taken. I took one pill. It only lasted me 3 hours before I had to take another one.

I took another one at breakfast after washy-washy. I was not well. When the captain, Captain TJ, the only Norwegian on the ship, came on the PA system, he apologized for the 60 mph winds and waves as we crossed the Gulf of Mexico.

I was on Dramamine all day as we sat at the pool and tanned. Alex competed in Mr. Sexy Legs competition on the pool deck but did not bring home a W for Wake Forest.

The pool deck was covered in a third of college students on spring break, from University of Georgia, University of Tampa, Auburn University, Eastern Carolina University and us, Wake Forest University!
And then a third of families or middle-aged folks and a third of the retired people.

We attempted to go to the gym after tanning all day but running on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike when the ship is rocking is close to impossible.


J.Crew chambray jumpsuit | Amazon rainbow earrings | Mark & Graham leather wristlet | Tory Burch gold logo bangle

We had dinner at Aqua, another complimentary dining room on the ship. The sea was so rough, I couldn’t even get through my meal. I thought I was going to throw up all over the table. Thankfully I had my Dramamine in my bag, it became my travel companion. I was in bed by 9 pm, after practically being carried up the stairs. 

When the rocking of the ship finally stopped at 2 am, I woke up and shot out of bed because I was so relieved. I pulled the shade aside and saw lights and land. Land ho! I then looked at my phone and the time said 2:00 am.... oops!

Tuesday, March 10th, we docked in Cozumel, Mexico. We were welcomed with crystal clear teal water and clear skies.
We met our excursion at 8:45 am off the pier.

We booked an excursion every day and only booked through Norwegian Cruise Line. Some of our group booked through other websites, but I thought it was easiest to book through the cruise company.



For Cozumel we went to an all-inclusive beach club. We boarded a bus and took a 40-minute ride to Playa Mia Deluxe Beach Break. This beach club was very family friendly and perfect for all ages. 
We found lounge chairs very close to the water. Alex played beach volleyball. We swam a bit and helped ourselves to the open bar and open buffet. The food was fine. Nothing great, the food on the ship was definitely better but it was fine for lunch.

We were still super anxious about getting sick, so every 5 minutes we were sanitizing our hands. Hand sanitizer and Dramamine were attached to my person at all times.

We boarded the ship again, sanitized twice before actually boarding and going through security.

When we booked our cruise in November, the deal was 2 free at sea items. So, we chose the unlimited drinks special, because we are college students on spring break, and the specialty dinning package. You guys know I am a total foodie, so of course, I wanted the nice dining.

Tuesday night we went to Los Lobos, a Mexican restaurant. I felt it was only fitting after spending a day in Mexico. The food was delicious, and the margaritas were even more amazing!
After dinner we went to Tim Kaminski’s comedy show. I almost wet myself laughing. He was very interactive with the audience and had the audience participate in a remake of the Wizard of Oz.

The next day, Wednesday, we were in Belize, and that’s where the craziness started.
I had to stop writing this blog post because writing about this day, feels like I’m reliving it.

Our ship arrived at Harvest Caye, Belize, a private island around 11 am. There was no pier so instead we had to take tenders, life boats and water taxis, to shore. It was really cool watching the life boats from our ship gracefully drop into the water.


We boarded the little boat and made it to land. The island had little shops and a man-made beach with beautiful crystal-clear water. There was a zip line that went across the beach and palm trees. We sat on the beach, took pictures and were in peace until texts started circulating that universities all over North Carolina and the south were starting to close. Duke, Eastern Carolina, NC State, UNC.
Wake posted online that we were closing indefinitely and then took it down.
At 8 pm East Coast time, we received an email from our president, “we have decided to suspend all in-person classes... Classes are cancelled from Monday, March 16, ‪through Sunday, March 22, so that faculty and staff can plan for academic continuity....Classes will resume remotely ‪on Monday, March 23. Students should expect to hear directly from their respective professors and/or degree program leaders soon about how to prepare for class. It is unknown at this time when classes will return to an in-person format... Students should not return to campus if at all possible...Campus will remain open.”

Campus is not closed. The post office, gym and library are open. But dorms are closed.

In another email from Residence Life and Housing, “To reaffirm the University messaging, while it is unknown when we will return to on-campus classes, we are NOT asking students to move out of their housing at this time.” 
This email gives me hope that we can return to our dorms and classes before the end of the semester.

Dorms are open until Tuesday, today, however, “all students, faculty or staff returning from countries with Level 2 and 3 travel health notices or from a cruise should not return to campus without first completing a 14-day self-isolation period without developing symptoms of COVID-19.”

So fortunately, some of my friends that did not go on the cruise were able to request access to my room and FaceTime me and collect some important belongings and some winter clothes. As well as all my books.

When we heard all of the noise about schools around us being canceled, I was attempting to read for one of my classes, but I was just too upset. My day at the beach was ruined. We were eating lunch when we heard more news and I cried.

It was a beautiful beach, but I was devastated because I knew my senior year was going to be cut short.

And it has been.

Once I called my parents, hysterically crying, they sympathetically told me to calm down and think about all the people that were dying.
I was still upset. I was thinking about all the events that I can’t attend anymore. The senior events that every other year has experienced. No informal, no Shag on the Mag, no formal maybe, no senior week maybe and no graduation maybe.

And we still don’t know. Everything is up in the air.

All we do know is that we have an extra week of vacation. My parents immediately thought of the idea that me and my friends from the cruise could go drive two and a half hours from Tampa to Marco Island, FL where we have our beach house.
It made perfect sense because we were already parked in Florida. And then the week later we could go back to Winston and live in a friend’s off campus apartment when online classes start because we have an indefinite ending to online classes.

Hopefully this will all blow over in a couple of weeks and we will be able to return to campus so we can finish our senior year and experience all of the lasts we are hoping for.

I was so upset Wednesday that I could hardly eat. But once we got back on the ship, we went to Bamboo, an included Asian cuisine restaurant after setting sail.


Thursday, March 12th was my favorite day. We docked in Honduras bright and early to meet the Jolly Roger Catamaran Sailing & Snorkeling excursion. This excursion was so fun!
We took a 20-minute bus ride to the dock and got on the 30-person catamaran. We sailed for 30 minutes until we reached our snorkel spot. I nervously jumped into the water with my snorkel gear and life vest and swam around the sailboat looking at all the fishes and the coral under the sea.

The crew on the sail boat was hysterical. When we got back on the boat after snorkeling for an hour, we danced on the deck: the Cupid Shuffle, the Macarena, the Wobble. We also ate delicious chicken and coleslaw on board prepared by the captain’s wife.
It was a quick excursion but a super fun one. I’m so glad we picked this one. It definitely cheered us all up.





We got back on the Dawn pretty early, so we sat on the top deck and basked in the sun, until I got some color, and not the good kind.

For dinner we went to a specialty restaurant, Le Bistro, a French restaurant on board.
I ordered the escargot and the veal medallions. Honestly, the best escargot I’ve ever had, and I studied abroad in France for four months! For dessert we had chocolate fondue. I was in heaven! 
The best French food I’ve had in a long time. We loved the restaurant so much we went back there the following night where we even saw the captain of our ship a table over from us.

After dinner Thursday night we went to a couple’s game show. May the best couple win. They had to do some crazy competitions, like putting a lemon up the husband’s shorts and down the shorts without the wives hands up their pants.
It was so fun!

On Friday the 13th we arrived in Costa Maya, Mexico!

Our whole group went to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins at 9:30 am. The ruins were beautiful and fascinating.


Zara floral dress | ASOS straw hat | Jack Rogers navy blue sneakers (use my code: CBALIZ for 15% off your order at jackrogersusa.com)










After the ruins we walked around the beach town next to the port. We found a cute little restaurant which allowed us to pick the fresh caught fish of the day off of a plate. We selected a 4-kilo red snapper that was staring me in the eyes. After bargaining with our server, we headed back to the ship. Thank goodness for Alex and his Spanish skills.

We had a late dinner at Le Bistro before going back to the theater for the end of the cruise show.  

We participated in the famous Norwegian White Party in the club before heading to bed.

ASOS blue wrap dress (lots of ruffle wrap dresses) | J.Crew white denim jacket | ASOS colorful clutch | ASOS orange wrap up sandals (similar) | J.Crew gold hoop earrings

Our last day on the ship was Saturday, March 14th. We spent the day at sea, but it was a slow day at sea. Unlike the first day at sea, there were no waves and no wind. We really lucked out. 

 We slept in, tanned by the pool, and yours truly even competed in a Miss Bicep competition on the pool deck… I did not win, but I did bring the sass.





We took some group pictures and had a quick dinner at Aqua before the aerial show, which was amazing. We then watched Tim Kaminski’s sold out comedy show.

Sunday, the 15th, we arrived back in Tampa bright and early at 7 am. We were anxious about getting off the boat and touching US soil once more. But low and behold we did! 
No quarantine for me!

After getting off the ship, a group of us headed to Marco Island in South West Florida where I am spending my second week of Spring Break.

Despite all the craziness, I had a wonderful Spring Break. It definitely was not what I was expecting but it was still a trip of a lifetime. I will definitely not forget this trip for many many reasons.

Norwegian Cruise Line was great especially during all of this nonsense. I am so glad I went on the cruise and I am so lucky that we did not get quarantined.

I hope everyone is healthy and doing well. Stayed tuned for more blog posts coming soon and T&P Thursday’s on my Instagram this Thursday!

All the best,
Elizabeth

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1 comment

  1. Unfortunately, most of people don't understand, how dangerous coronavirus is. It is very essential to stay at home now. Also, you must wash your hands.

    ReplyDelete

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